#ElonGrad 2021 spotlight: Kevin Scott, biochemistry

In this series, Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences is shining the spotlight on distinguished members of the Class of 2021 from a wide array of disciplines.

Honors Fellow Kevin Scott ’21 combined his interests in biology and chemistry into a biochemistry major, and turned his family’s loss into Lumen Prize-funded research into potential causes of gastric cancer.

Scott, whose mother is Japanese, was born in Japan. His uncle died of cancer before his birth. That loss loomed in his childhood, and he wanted to examine type of cancer prevalent in East Asia, including gastric cancer. Associate Professor of Biology Yuko Myamoto mentored Scott in researching whether high-salt diets may lead to the prominence of the HER2 protein and the strength of gastric cancer cells.

Scott is a member of biology honor society Beta Beta Beta, chemistry honor society Phi Lambda Upsilon was 2019 Orientation Leader of the Year, and served as an international student orientation team lead.

Tell us more about your undergraduate research.

For the last three years, I’ve been working on a project with Dr. Miyamoto investigating HER2 positive gastric cancer through the activation of the SIK3 protein. I selected this project because I wanted to learn more about the molecular interactions that may be occurring to lead to high levels of gastric cancer in Japan, China, and South Korea. I presented my research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and at Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum, both in 2021.

 What is your proudest accomplishment while at Elon?

Being able to make findings through my research, no matter how small they were.

How has working closely with Dr. Miyamoto enhanced your Elon experience, furthered your goals, or helped you grow?

Dr. Miyamoto has made an enormous impact on my Elon experience, not only in guiding my research, but also by supporting me in any way she possibly could. She has always been encouraging but realistic, helping me to decide what career route I’d like to pursue post-undergrad.

What are your plans following graduation?

I will spend up to two years at the National Institutes of Health as a post-baccalaureate cancer research training fellow in a cancer research lab. Afterward I plan to apply to graduate schools to work toward a Ph.D in cancer biology.

What advice would you give to future Elon students?

Two things: First, go to office hours. Second, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the perfect student. Instead use each class as a chance to learn more and prepare yourself toward any goal you hope to achieve.

What’s your favorite Elon tradition and why?

Cheering along to the fight song at Elon athletic events. Since I was 5 years old, I’ve been an avid fan of Elon sports. After 17 years, the fight song is ingrained in me.